#639: Todd McFarlane, Legendary Comic Book Artist — How to Make Iconic Art, Reinvent Spider-Man, Live Life on Your Own Terms, and Meet Every Deadline
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Todd McFarlane (@Todd_McFarlane) is an Emmy- and Grammy-winning director/producer and creator of one of the world’s best-selling comic books, Spawn. He is best known to many comic book fans for his work as the artist on The Amazing Spider-Man, for which he co-created Marvel’s top villain, Venom.
Todd is the CEO of Todd McFarlane Productions, McFarlane Toys (one of the US’s top action-figure manufacturers), and McFarlane Films. He is also a co-founder of Image Comics, which debuted Spawn in 1992, selling 1.7 million copies of the first issue. In 1997, Spawn was made into an Emmy Award-winning animated series on HBO and a live-action feature film that grossed over $100 million. In 2019, Todd made history with Spawn #301, earning the Guinness World Record for longest-running creator-owned superhero comic book series.
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[12:04] Rejection letters.
[15:57] Compelling storytelling and meeting deadlines.
[19:04] Deadlines pre-Internet vs. deadlines today.
[23:25] How industry status quo led to the founding of Image Comic Books.
[35:51] The Comics Code and the last straw.
[42:14] The Marvel Dream Team exodus.
[1:00:35] How is Todd’s camel bladder a competitive advantage?
[1:06:23] Career bouncing and double-shifting as a penciler and inker.
[1:24:36] The happy accident of Venom.
[1:35:28] De-Rockwelling the company icon and inventing “spaghetti webbing.”
[1:38:53] Bucking the status quo to become the status quo.
[1:42:34] Parting thoughts and a promise for round two.
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